1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kelliher, a very small town (population 262) in Northern Minnesota. It is an hour south of the Canadian border and 17 miles from Red Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake enclosed in one state.
2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?
I did things a little backwards. I got my MLIS degree first. After finishing that degree I wanted an additional challenge and was interested in copyright issues, so I decided to go to law school. While in law school I told myself that I would be open to new opportunities and experiences outside librarianship. So I spent two summers in China – one summer at an incubator and venture capital firm and another summer at a large Chinese-Australian law firm. I really enjoyed these experiences. They were exciting, challenging, and I learned a lot. But during those experiences I always felt like I was just visiting and when I am in a library I feel like I am home. So when I graduated from law school I immediately started to apply for jobs in law libraries. (Though I did take and pass the California Bar Exam, because I thought it was important to understand the final step law school graduates go through before entering the legal profession.)
3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?
I think my interest in foreign, comparative, and international law started before I even went to law school. While pursuing my MLIS I took International Librarianship. As part of the course we attended the IFLA conference in Quebec City. While there I had had a conversation with Emilija Banionyte, who was on the EIFL Advisory Board (Electronic Information for Libraries), about global issues relating to access to information – especially trying to negotiate fair licensing agreements in Eastern European countries. I think this really planted the seed with regards to my interest in foreign, comparative, and international law. But those interests were nurtured and encouraged by Mary Sexton, the FCIL librarian at Santa Clara University School of Law, while I was in law school and following law school. Mary Rumsey and Heidi Frostestad Kuehl have also been very helpful in answering any and all questions I have had about FCIL librarianship.
4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?
My current employer is Concordia University School of Law in Boise, ID. I have worked here since October 2014. But I just accepted a position as Head of Faculty Services at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND.
5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
Not fluently. My best foreign language is Danish. I speak a little Danish and understand most things I watch and read in Danish. I also speak a little Mandarin. But again, I can read more Mandarin than I can speak. If pressed, I can understand a decent amount of Swedish and Norwegian.
6. What is your most significant professional achievement?
My most significant achievement professional achievement so far is having a doctrinal faculty member be impressed enough with my contribution to a project that he invited me to co-author a law review article.
7. What is your biggest food weakness?
I have a lot of food weaknesses. But I think my biggest food weakness is lefse.
8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?
Robyn’s Dancing on My Own is the first thing that comes to mind. If you are a runner and like to run to slower music, I would recommend Antony and the Johnson’s album The Crying Light. I once ran five miles out of town on a rural Minnesotan road listening to this album without even realizing how far I had gone. Until I saw a deer leg. Just a deer leg. And realized I was over approximately two miles from the nearest house. The trip back was not nearly as enjoyable as the run out of town and I instituted a policy that I would never run more than one mile out of town in any direction.
9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?
The seemingly universal desire amongst all FCIL librarians – the ability to speak more foreign languages. And the ability to fly.
10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you could not go a day without?
Is coffee a basic necessity? If not, coffee.
11. Anything else you would like to share with us?
I have a twin sister who is also has an MLIS degree, but she is not a law librarian. But she does speak and read Icelandic, so she would likely be willing to help if anybody ever needs help translating or finding Icelandic legal resources.